Unmasked Review

Unmasked (written by Christian Read with art by Emily Smith and Gary Chaloner) tells the story of a married couple living a seemingly normal live. However, they are in fact super-villains who have given up the cape to be professional criminals.  Waiting for their latest take to be laundered and turned to spendable cash, the couple become bored, and desire to return to their costumes and the freedom and power it denotes.

The series has a distinct The Boys or Incognito feel to it, and that is its central problem. You, as the reader, have seen this story before and have seen this story told better. But, before I get into the story I will have to say that I enjoyed the art in this book. The panel structure had more than four panels to it, making it feel like you were reading something with a bit of density to it. The art looked grungy, dirty, and I really enjoyed how the artist drew people.

That being said, the story did not hold up to the art. The setting was your generic super-hero universe that you have seen in any other indie book deconstructing the super-hero.  However, there is an impressive amount of research on how heists work and how criminals liquidate their assets. But the characters feel very limited with only the main character having any real dimension.  The story felt like a rather formulaic crime story with your typical super-hero deconstruction bullet points. Of course the main characters want to have sex in their costumes, of course the characters only feel alive when they are in costume, and of course they have a desire to get into fights with super-heroes. The deconstruction is by the numbers with no new thoughts or revelations in it.

That is not to say that the mechanics of the story are lacking or anything, in fact I found them to be pretty strong. The issue is that this story is a by the numbers super-hero deconstruction story.  You have seen this done in Wanted, The Boys, Incognito, with aspects of this story found in Nemesis and some of the Avatar super-hero stuff. I would say that if you are a really big fan of these stories and want something that scratches that literary itch, then pick up Unmasked. Otherwise, I would say skip it and read some of the stories I listed here.

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Colby Pryor has been fascinated by comics since he saw his first comic shop on Big Bad Beetleborgs and really got into them with Ultimate Spider-Man vol. 2. He is a recent graduate of the University of Central Florida with a bachelor's in English. He is known for his outlandish taste in fiction and his completely off-the-wall opinions. He aspires to be a comic book writer.

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Also by Colby Pryor:

Humans and Paragons: Essays on Super-Hero Justice


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